The Color of Ash
One day your heart will turn brittle.
It will crack open
and every love letter you
composed in your mind, but never sent,
every song you hummed
to yourself while you fell into your dreams
and then forgot,
every tear that you forbade to spill
will all come pouring out.
The leak will be small at first.
The unimportant Tuesdays will slip through
the cracks, but then as the fissures widen,
as your heart dries like drift wood under
a bleaching sun,
the rest will cascade out too.
Your first loves middle name,
your favorite sentence in your favorite book,
the name of the street where you grew up.
It will spill out into your ribcage,
splashing the bones with color
and turning to ash before it hits your stomach.
And that’s why you keep this journal,
to collect the colors,
to scribble down the names,
the sacred strings of words.
Your life’s essence.
Perhaps after your children’s children
have lost it and it get passed from
attic to attic
in a moldy box,
some stranger will unearth it,
will covet it,
will commit your life to memory,
and you will live again.
Photograph by Forrest Cavale